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Fostering a baby

Fostering a baby is a demanding role with a lot of responsibility. It’s considered to be a specialised role suitable for an experienced foster carer with additional skills and training. If you want to foster babies, you might also consider fostering young children.

What needs does a foster baby have?

A baby’s birth parents may place them into care voluntarily, or they may arrive because they have suffered abuse, neglect or been affected by drug or alcohol problems.

This means some babies who need fostering have additional care requirements due to developmental or attachment issues, or even serious medical problems including addiction withdrawal.

Babies often arrive with foster parents at very short notice. They need a safe space and a high level of care that will comfort and nurture them. They will also need stimulation in order to learn. From the get-go, they will be learning language skills, sense of self and other essential skills for life.

Young babies need to stay in the room of caregivers at least until the age of six months; a child over the age of two needs their own bedroom. Babies require an intense attachment from their care givers, so it can be a wrench to hand them over to their birth parents or adoptive parents.

What you get from fostering a baby

Fostering babies and young children is particularly rewarding because of the impact the first three years of a child’s life has on their personal development.

If you’re already a parent or have experience of caring for babies, that’s the perfect start. But bear in mind, a foster baby will most likely be placed with an experienced foster carer, so you will need to be open to other types of fostering too. This might include emergency foster care for toddlers or children of primary school age. You will also need to make the most of training opportunities provided by the National Fostering Group.

You will need good interpersonal skills to work closely with birth parents and other family members too, to allow them to develop their attachment relationship; or you could host meetings with prospective adoptive parents.

Our baby foster carers don’t do this alone: National Fostering Group provides excellent support and training. You have a dedicated Supervising Social Worker who is backed by an experienced local team, access to 24/7 advice and excellent training delivered in your area.

If you think this type of fostering would suit you, please enquire now.

Fostering a baby experiences

Laura was a two-year-old who was the size of a 3-month old baby due to severe neglect. She had serious disabilities and could not talk or stand up and move like a child of her age. She showed signs of stress and was scared of people and of being held.

During her first six months with her foster parents, Laura learned how to grasp toys, crawl and walk. It took three months for Laura to start walking from crawling. Her foster parents worked with a physiotherapist and other professionals. Her growth improved and her first teeth started coming through, and she has had help overcoming her phobias.

Today, Laura is a totally independent child who does not need any help from the hospital. Her growth and development is normal for a child of her age, now six. She is in mainstream school and doing very well – a happy, healthy and active child. Read Laura’s full story.

Fostering A Baby: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I foster a baby?

Babies, children and young people up to the age of 18 can be fostered. Babies and young children tend to be put up for adoption but will be fostered during a transition period (called bridging foster care). A foster baby is usually placed with an experienced foster carer whose skills will be closely matched the child’s particular needs – for example, if they have a medical or developmental issue. You will need to be open to other types of fostering, like toddlers or children of primary school age. Read more about the different types of foster care.

Do I need an extra bedroom to foster a baby?

No – it’s expected that a young foster baby would stay in your bedroom, at least until the age of six months. Your bedroom will need to be large enough to comfortably accommodate a cot and other necessary equipment. A foster baby can stay in your bedroom until the age of 2; they will then require their own bedroom. Read more about fostering a baby and other types of foster care.

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